Friday, October 2, 2009

Cambodia Desires Cooperation with all Nations : Hor Namhong

Written by DAP NEWS -- Thursday, 01 October 2009
(Post by CAAI News Media)

Responding to Radio France International (RFI) reporter in the US, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) Hor Namhong on Tuesday said that Cambodia is an independent nation in Asia so aims to further cooperation with all nations, not just China or the US.

“Cambodia always tries to find cooperation and good relationship with all countries to develop all areas, not only China or the US,” Hor Namhong said.

“Cambodia and US cooperation is increasing … as the US Government led by President Barack Obama decided to eliminate Cambodia from a US trade blacklist in June and provide military aid to Cambodia,” the minister added.

After discussions with US Secre-tary of State Hillary Clinton he confirmed that US Government is focusing on development in ASEAN, so its relationship with Cambodia will be developed.

Relations with the Chinese Gover- nment are good as Cambodia holds to the ‘One China’ policy, as it has the rule of former King Norodom Sihanouk. The Chinese Government has donated aids to Cambodia and lent money at low interest rates, Hor Namhong stated. Mu Sochua, Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) Lawmaker, told DAP News Cambodia that she supported all aid to develop Cambodia.

“I strongly reject all claims … that I called on the US government to stop military aid to Cambodia,” Mu Sochua said. “I only called on the US Government to decline entry visas for some military officials indulging in corruption, land abuses and illegal deforestation.”

Some news agencies previously quoted Mu Sochua’s as saying in the US that she called on the US Government to stop military aid to Cambodia. She harshly criticized the democratic system and human rights in Cambodia at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.

Koy Koung, MFAIC spokesman, previously told DAP News Cambodia that cooperation between Cambodia and US will be deepened. However, criticism from the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission would not affect the cooperation among the two countries, he stressed.

Hor Namhong told US Ambassador to Cambodia Carol A. Rodley that Cambodia and US cooperation is developing. “Especially, the US Government decided to withdraw Cambodia out of its trade black list in June,” he said.

“Since 2004, the US has sought to strengthen and expand its bilateral defense relationship with Cam-bodia,” a US embassy in Phnom Penh statement said. “Our cooperation focuses on international peacekeeping, counterterrorism, counter narcotics, border and maritime security, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief operation, and defense sector reform. Our goals are to develop the capabilities of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) in these areas, while encouraging Cambodia’s commitment to the rule of law, transparency in governance, sustained democratic development, and respect for human rights.”

Since 2006, Cambodia has received approximately US$4.5 million worth of equipment and technical assistance through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program. The US has also provided humanitarian assistance. Since 2005, the US Army, Navy, and Marine Corps have helped to build and republish schools and medical clinics throughout the country.

US military medics and dentists have also worked with their RCAF counterparts to provide free health care to some of the most isolated and impoverished communities in Cambodia.

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